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Young (M. Norvel and Helen) Papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Preferred Citation
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Biographical note
  • Young Family Members
  • Scope and Content
  • Arrangement
  • Processing Information note
  • Separated Materials

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: Pepperdine University. Special Collections and University Archives.
    Title: M. Norvel and Helen Young Papers
    Identifier/Call Number: 0014
    Physical Description: 225.59 Linear Feet (181 boxes)
    Date (inclusive): 1759,1882,1900s-2000s
    Date (bulk): 1900-2000
    Abstract: The collection contains the personal and professional papers of M. Norvel and Helen Young. The bulk of the materials range from the 1900s to early 2000s and document the Youngs' involvement with Pepperdine University; their families' lives; and their activities while based in Tennessee, Texas, and California.
    Physical Location: Pepperdine University. Special Collections and University Archives.
    Language of Material: Materials are in English.

    Conditions Governing Access

    Advance notice required for access.

    Conditions Governing Use

    Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

    Preferred Citation

    [Box/folder# or item name], M. Norvel and Helen Young papers, Collection no. 0014, Special Collections and University Archives, University Libraries, Pepperdine University.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    The collection was received in multiple donations from Helen Young, some in 2000, and one in 2010.

    Biographical note

    Matt Norvel Young Jr. (more commonly referred to as M. Norvel or just Norvel Young) was born on October 5, 1915, in Nashville, Tennessee. His parents were Matt Norvel Young and Mary Ruby Morrow Young, and Norvel was the second of two children in the family (his brother Stephen Franklin Young, commonly referred to as Franklin, was born on July 21, 1909). Norvel went to school at Hume-Fogg High School in Nashville, the same school his mother went to. He attended David Lipscomb College and received an A.A. degree in 1934 before moving on to Abilene Christian College where he was student body president his senior year. He graduated from Abilene Christian College in 1936 and went on to receive a master's degree in English literature from Vanderbilt University in 1937.
    After taking a seven month world tour following his graduation, Norvel accepted a teaching position at George Pepperdine College for the fall of 1938. While teaching history at Pepperdine, Norvel met Helen Elizabeth Mattox (a senior at Pepperdine studying business), and the two married on August 31, 1939. Just before their marriage, Norvel spent the summer taking classes at Columbia University in New York. Norvel and Helen left Pepperdine for Nashville, Tennessee, in 1941 so they could pursue advanced degrees at George Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. They lived with Norvel's parents while in Nashville. Norvel graduated with his doctorate in 1943, and Helen completed a master's degree in sociology. Norvel preached at the College Church of Christ while in Nashville.
    Following their studies in Nashville, the Youngs moved to Lubbock, Texas in 1944 when Norvel accepted a position as a preacher at the Broadway Church of Christ. They stayed there for 13 years and during this time Norvel oversaw construction of a new church building and led a post-World War II relief effort that raised half a million dollars to send care packages to Germany and other parts of Europe. The Youngs' involvement in charity also included their co-founding of the Children's Home of Lubbock. Norvel's career in the church led to him co-founding and editing two magazines, 20th Century Christian (in 1938) and Power for Today (in 1955, along with Helen), as well as editing Germany For Christ for a decade. One rarely mentioned activity was Norvel's time as the "master of ceremonies" for the Family Bible Quiz television program taped in Lubbock from 1952-1957.
    Norvel traveled abroad frequently for speeches, preaching, and vacations. He lectured in Frankfurt, Germany, in 1949 and 1956 and went to Tokyo, Japan, in 1959. He preached in the former U.S.S.R. in 1961 and assisted in a Bible campaign in London, England in 1963, (his son came along as well for this trip and wrote about the experience). He served as a coordinator for the American-Russian Writers Conference in the 1980s, traveling to Moscow multiple times for the conference.
    In 1956, Norvel helped found Lubbock Christian College with the help of Helen's brother F.W. (Fount William) Mattox who served as president. The following year, 1957, Norvel and Helen moved back to Southern California after Norvel was appointed the third president of George Pepperdine College following Hugh Tiner's retirement.
    The Youngs were instrumental in changing and adding to Pepperdine. Norvel was President from 1957 to 1971, and then Chancellor from 1971 to 1984, after which he took the title of Chancellor Emeritus. During his tenure, Pepperdine went from being a college with 950 students to a university with 9,500 students. One of the largest changes was the move from the 34-acre site on 79th Street and Vermont Avenue in Los Angeles to the 830-acre site in Malibu in 1972. He opened new graduate programs in various disciplines: business (now the Graziadio School of Business and Management), the Graduate School of Education and Psychology, and the law school. Satellite campuses in Los Angeles and Orange Counties and the San Fernando Valley were opened for distance learners. Norvel opened a residential campus in Heidelberg, Germany, in 1963 and started the study abroad program that approximately 60% of students now participate in.
    During the mid-1970s, Norvel began to depend on alcohol to reduce stress (drinking was frowned upon by the Churches of Christ, and is now prohibited on campus). He took a leave of absence as chancellor after pleading guilty to vehicular manslaughter, following a car wreck in which two women were killed after he rear-ended their car while intoxicated. His probation was controversial because it required his participation in a research study on drunken driving accidents and to give speeches about drunk driving rather than going to jail.
    Throughout his career, Norvel was dedicated to serving businesses and the community as a board member of multiple institutions, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Forest Lawn Memorial Parks, Los Angeles Philanthropic Foundation, Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, and others. Governor Ronald Reagan appointed Norvel to California's Coordinating Council for Higher Education from 1970 to 1974.
    The Youngs continued to be very involved with Pepperdine after Norvel's retirement, including working with the Pepperdine Associates for fundraising. Norvel died February 17, 1998 in his on-campus home. He was survived by his wife Helen and their four children, Emily, Matt, Marilyn, and Sara.
    Helen Elizabeth Mattox was born on August 31, 1918, in Bristow, Oklahoma, and grew up in Oklahoma City. She was the sixth of seven children of Judge Perry Mattox and Irene Corrine Young Mattox (her other siblings were Marguerite, Joseph, Fount William, Paul, Kathryn, and Frank). She attended Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas, for two years before finishing her degree at George Pepperdine College. She attended the first year Pepperdine was open, majored in business, and graduated in 1939. While at Pepperdine, she met her future husband Norvel Young, and the two married August 31, 1939. She moved with him to Nashville, Tennessee, and completed a master's in sociology while Norvel finished his doctorate degree. They later moved to Lubbock, Texas, where their four children were born (Emily, born on February 26, 1945; Matt III, born on October 19, 1947; Marilyn, born on June 8, 1952; and Sara, born on August 18, 1953). The family moved to Los Angeles while Norvel worked at Pepperdine, and then moved to Malibu when the campus moved locations.
    When the campus moved to Malibu, the Young family lived in the historical Adamson House (now a museum, the former home of the founders of present-day Malibu) for 13 years. In 1958, Helen founded the Associated Women for Pepperdine, a fundraising organization, which still exists on campus. She was also a staff member of the first incarnation of the Graphic, the school's newspaper and longest-running student organization. Helen still lives on the Pepperdine Campus (as of 2012).
    Biographical information was taken from collection materials, newspaper articles, and the Pepperdine University website. Extra information about Helen Young was taken from the Pepperdine University Graphic (http://graphic.pepperdine.edu/news/2007/2007-11-08-matriarch.htm) and conversations with her.

    Young Family Members

    Materials related to the following family members are included in the collection:
    Matt Norvel Young, Jr. -- October 5, 1915-February 17,1998 Helen Elizabeth Mattox Young -- born 1919 Emily Mattox Young Lemley -- born February 26, 1945 Matt Norvel Young III -- born October 19, 1947 Marilyn Morrow Young Stewart -- June 8, 1952-December 15, 2001 Sara Helen Young Jackson -- born Aug 18, 1953

    Scope and Content

    The collection contains the personal and professional papers of M. Norvel and Helen Young. The collection contains subject and correspondence files from Norvel's office at Pepperdine University; files related to university boards and donors; appointment books, personal papers, and published materials of both Norvel and Helen; papers from their involvement in the Churches of Christ; notes and copies of sermons, speeches, and courses given by Helen and Norvel; and files related to Norvel's position as editor for the publications 20th Century Christian and (with Helen) Power for Today.
    While some files are divided into Norvel's files or Helen's files, it is important to note that they were very involved in each others' lives and work and, as a result, papers in some series are frequently mixed. The collection also has personal, non-Pepperdine and family correspondence; travel ephemera; family photos, scrapbooks, and slides; audiovisual materials (mostly sermons); family financial papers; and personal memorabilia.
    Items are primarily paper, but the collection also includes photographs, slides, audiocassettes, plaques, a statuette, and other miscellaneous materials.


    The collection is arranged in nine series:
    Series 1: M. Norvel Young Series 2: Helen Young Series 3: Personal and Family Correspondence Series 4: Travel Files Series 5: Photos, Scrapbooks, and Slides Series 6: Audiovisual Materials Series 7: Personal Financial Files Series 8: Awards, Certificates, and Plaques Series 9: Memorabilia and Ephemera

    Processing Information note

    The collection was processed and described in March 2012 by Jamie Henricks and Jessica Geiser, with help from Katie Richardson, Melissa Nykanen, and Catie Golitzin. A folder list is being added incrementally; with the help of Jenna Fry, Sarah Dannemiller, and Craig Taylor.

    Separated Materials

    A yearbook, issues of Pepperdine Voice, four copies of Faith Was His Fortune (the autobiography of George Pepperdine), a Bible belonging to S. Franklin Young, and the book A Study in Lifestyle: The Story of Cliff Baker were separated for cataloging.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Lubbock (Tex.) -- History
    Nashville (Tenn.) -- History
    Appointment books
    Los Angeles (Calif.) -- History
    Malibu (Calif.) -- History
    Churches of Christ -- Periodicals
    Universities and colleges -- Curricula -- California
    Universities and colleges -- Employees
    Universities and colleges -- California -- Malibu -- History
    Universities and colleges -- Accreditation
    International education -- Study and teaching
    Universities and colleges -- Administration
    Universities and colleges -- Religion
    Family archives
    Universities and colleges -- Sermons
    Education, Higher -- California -- Malibu
    Universities and colleges -- Admission
    Universities and colleges -- Awards
    Color slides
    College administrators -- United States -- History
    College presidents -- California -- Malibu
    Speeches, addresses, etc., American -- 20th century
    Churches of Christ -- History -- 20th century
    Universities and colleges -- Faculty
    Christian universities and colleges -- United States -- History
    Travel -- History -- 20th century
    Financial records
    Receipts (financial records)
    Pepperdine University
    Pepperdine, George
    Pepperdine University. Office of the Chancellor
    Pepperdine College
    Seaver College
    Pepperdine University. Library Affairs
    Pepperdine University. School of Law
    Young, M. Norvel (Matt Norvel)
    Banowsky, William Slater
    Abilene Christian College
    Pepperdine University. Office of the President
    David Lipscomb College
    Vanderbilt University. George Peabody College for Teachers
    Broadway Church of Christ, Lubbock, Tex.
    Young family
    Young, Helen
    Lemley, Emily Mattox Young
    Pepperdine, Helen Louise
    Stewart, Marilyn Morrow Young
    Young, Matt Norvel, III
    Jackson, Sara Helen Young